Monday, August 31, 2009

Blog Closed

Blog closed until further notice.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Miranda's Big Mistake by Jill Mansell

Thank you to Danielle Jackson from Source Books

About Miranda's Big Mistake from the Source Books website:

An irresistible summer read from Jill Mansell, an international bestselling author.

Jill Mansell is one of the UK's premiere contemporary authors, with her 19th title coming out in January 2009. She has sold nearly 4 million copies of her books in the UK.

Miranda is thrilled with Greg. He's gorgeous, funny, and practically perfect. Greg thinks Miranda is great, but he hasn't told her everything about himself. After all, even the sweetest girl is likely to be put off by a man who's left his newly pregnant wife. But there's no way she'll ever find out... is there?

My Thoughts

To say that I fell in love with a book would be somewhat dramatic but “wow...” Miranda meets this perfect man and he seems to be interested in all the same things that she is...but...then she finds out that he left his wife because she got pregnant. 'Got' being the operative word here...apparently she did it all by spite him. She broke the rules.

This book recounts the journey of revenge that Miranda takes to pay back this self-centred man and how along the way she gathers up and shelters those in need...including a homeless man who is more than he seems.

This story is more than a simple revenge plot. This story celebrates women in all guises...old and forgotten...pregnant and discarded...single and desperate and Miranda herself...lost and searching. The pace of the story is perfect as each nugget of fact unfolds itself and each character evolves.

All the characters are fleshed out completely and the humour just dances off the pages. I can't wait to read more books by Jill Mansell whose style is reminiscent of Marion Keyes and Sophie Kinsella but she also has a voice that is all her own.

Bravo Jill Mansell.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn Blog Tour

Kitty Raises Hell

Full Description

Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas. ... more

About Author

Carrie Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops in California, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies, fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. She lives in Boulder, Colorado. Her website is

Participating sites:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BLOG TOUR : Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

Full Description

Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

In the author's colorful and eclectic life, she has written and directed award-winning documentaries on Irish subjects, as well as the dramatic feature Proud. She's been an associate producer on Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live, written books on Martin Scorsese, World War II, and Bosnia, and a novel based on her experiences as a former nun - Special Intentions. She is a frequent contributor to Irish America Magazine and has a PhD in English and Irish literature.

Blog Talk Radio

Upcoming Show:
Host Name: grandcentralpub
Show Name: Live St. Patrick's Day Interview with Mary Pat Kelly author of GALWAY BAY
Length: 1 hr

Letter from Mary Pat Kelly


The bones of GALWAY BAY come from my own family history, a story I discovered slowly over decades of research. In the beginning tracing my roots meant cranking through reels and reels of microfilm in a fruitless search. To access the U.S. Census records I needed the address where the Kelly’s first lived in Chicago, which I did not have.

Then I realized my father’s first cousin, Sister Mary Erigina, BVM might know. She did. Born Agnella Kelly in 1889, she had in fact lived with her great grandmother Honora Kelly. Agnella lived to be 107, her mind sharp and her interest keen.

Now I found the right reel. Here were the names of Honora’s children, their ages, but nothing about where they came from in Ireland. Finally I followed the trail to Galway and discovered at last the record of the birth of Honora Keeley, September 15, 1822. And the place? A fishing village right on the shores of Galway Bay. The cottages were gone but the Bay was the same. I stood on the beach looking out, and could almost see my great-great-great-grandfather John Keeley setting out in a puc├ín, guided by a knowledge of winds, currents, and the patterns followed by the fish themselves that he’d learned from past generations. I went to the site of the fish market in Galway City and imagined Honora and her mother selling the catch under the Spanish Arch, bargaining and trading, handling money. Rare for women of that time. How did that shape their character? read more...

The Potato Famine:
A Memorial

My Thoughts

Galway Bay is an extremely well written book. This novel may be based upon the history of Mary Pat Kelly's family and the story of their starvation in Ireland during The Potato Famine in the 19Th century but it doesn't read like a dry-as-dust history tome. I was thoroughly caught up in the narrative and shocked, saddened and inspired by this family. This family's history is just one triumphant saga of the horrific moment in history when the Irish people were almost wiped out by the potato blight that killed off their only food source. A very enjoyable read.

Please visit the other stops on this blog tour:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Live St. Patrick's Day Interview with Mary Pat Kelly author of GALWAY BAY

Time: March 17, 2009 from 11am to 12pm

Live St Patricks Day Interview with Mary Pat Kelly author of GALWAY

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Waving "Hello" to the Blogging world

I am sure that most of you must have thought that I dropped off the face of the world but I have been hiding....just a little. I have been experiencing a huge wave of grief on my journey, through my life without Nick, and it has not only dried up my writing but for awhile it even dried up my reading....and that never happens. That is not supposed to happen and I will not STAND for it. LOL
I have also started a brand new full-time job at a different school and I think that the "growing pains" have calmed down a bit.
I hereby pledge that I will never let another week go by without an update at least on my life, job or the books that I am reading and I will try to post at least twice during the week.
Nice to see you all again and I am blowing you all a kiss. Mwuahhhhh

Isolation by Travis Thatcher

With masterful storytelling, Travis Thrasher draws readers into a novel so gripping it cannot be put down.
James Miller is a burned-out missionary whose time on the mission field in Papua New Guinea left him exhausted and disillusioned. His wife, Stephanie, feels like she's losing her mind. After moving to North Carolina, Stephanie begins seeing strange and frightening things: blood dripping down the walls, one of her children suffocating. Premonitions, she's sure, of what's to come. As the visions and haunting images intensify, Stephanie asks her brother to come for a much-needed visit--but he's hiding secrets of his own that will prove more destructive than Stephanie can imagine.
Nine-year-old Zachary sees his family's move as an adventure, and as he explores the new house, he discovers every young boy's dream: secret passageways and hidden rooms. But what seems exciting at first quickly becomes altogether frightening. When a snowstorm traps the Millers, the supernatural dangers of their new home will test everything they thought they knew about each other, and about their faith.

My Thoughts

Thanks to Hachette Books for my copy of Isolation by Travis Thatcher. This arrived in a special win at Hallowe'en from another blog's contest.
This....was a creepy story and I enjoyed it. While not a difficult read it deals with difficult ideas. Unfortunately it glosses over the details of the Miller's past brush with evil and it seems that details are left out to add atmosphere as if the less said about the past creates tension and stirs up unease.
Some parts of it felt too slick though and the age of the son, Zachary, made me feel that his actions were not believable for his age. Despite all of this and the fact that I had guessed the climax...I still quite enjoyed it and it 'creeped' me out.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

6 Things I Love & Addiction

Tagged from Serena over at Savvy Verse & Wit
The rules for the tag are simple.

Link to the person who has tagged you.
Write down six things that make you happy.
Post the rules, tag six others and let them know you did it.
Then tell the person when your entry is complete.

Six Things That Make Me Happy...

1. My Husband and my daughter...the loves of my life.

2. My 4 cats...Calli, Lucy, Willow and Annie Fae

3. Books.....Books....Books.......every shape, colour, genre

4. Making things....I knit, paint, make jewelery,sew. refinish furniture

5. Chocolate...good or bad..

6. Re-Use it stores...Salvation Army, Goodwill.
bargain hunting is the best!

I Tag.....

Shelley of Knit One, Read Two ( a real life friend in town)
Rebecca of The Book Lady's Blog
Melissa of Shhh I'm Reading
Jessica of Living Between the Pages
Deirdre of Unravellings
Lorin of Arch Thinking

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fun Book Meme to Fill Out

I am stealing this from Steph Sue Reads who stole it from Black-Eyed Susan but this is just FUN!

One book you’re currently reading: The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike

One book that changed your life: What Katy did by Susan Coolidge

One book you’d want on a deserted island: Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

One book you’ve read more than once: The Chronicals of Narnia by C.S.Lewis but also most books

One book you’ve never been able to finish: The Bible

One book that made you laugh: The Makedown by Gitty Daneshvari

One book that made you cry: ...I cry for happiness and for sadness but Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes made me sob.

One book you keep rereading: Faery Tale by Raymond E. Feist

One book you’ve been meaning to read: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

One book you believe everyone should read: The Chronicals of Narnia by C.S. Lewis...helps the dreams come to life.

Finally, grab the nearest book. Open it to page 56. Find the fifth sentence

"You are as much of a Toothaker as any of us."

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snapshot Saturday # 2


We picked out and cooked some live for my favourite supper ever!!!!

Food for Thought

Has anyone else noticed the abundance of novels released lately by top selling written with an unknown?

Has anyone else noticed that some of these authors...write more than 2 books a year?

Hands up for anyone who believes that these well known authors write their own books....or is it a multi-million dollar a year business like everything else?

I stand up and declare that I will not read and review any more of these mass-marketed formulaic novels disguised as fiction.

Comments please


Friday, January 30, 2009

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

Ann's Words

This novel is very special to me. A few years ago I was afraid I would never be able to write again. For my entire life, reading and writing were ways to work out what I felt, what I worried about, what I feared, what I hoped for. Then on April 18, 2002, my five year old daughter Grace died suddenly from a virulent form of strep. As an added insult, when I lost Grace I also lost my ability to use words. I couldn't read and I couldn't write. Letters didn't come together to make words; sentences did not make sense. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't focus. Almost two years later, the literary journal Tin House sent out a request to writers for submissions for their theme issue on Lying. That night-I was unable to sleep well and was often up walking around the house at all hours-an essay came to me fully developed on the lies about grief. I sat down and wrote it and Tin House published it.

My Thoughts

When I wrote the words describing my thoughts and emotions about Ann Hood's book Comfort...I was also describing The Knitting Circle.
I am sure that this book was a very difficult one to write. Ann took the story of her family and her daughter Grace's death and she fictionalised it. It is almost the same story and well written.
More about this book though was centred on knitting as a form of therapy. a way of living through the grief ...even when you don't want to. The book also introduced a number of different characters who represented people from all walks of life who found knitting to be a solace for their troubles.

Comfort: A Journey Through Grief by Ann Hood

Ann's Words

"Slowly, slowly, I began to tell my own story of loss and grief and hope. You know how that first day at the beach when the ocean water is still so cold, you dip your toes in, then run out? Next try, you get up to your ankles before you run? Then up to your calves, your thighs, until finally you are waist deep and you can dive in head first? That is how I wrote COMFORT. I wrote a little, then retreated. A little more, a little more, until I was able to dive in. "

"I did not know what to do with her Christmas stocking, the one with the angel on it and her name sewn in my crooked attempt to use a needle and thread. I did not know how to celebrate a New Year without her. And on the first anniversary of her death...."
"...My Body cannot move. I am paralysed."
... " I used to wake in a panic that I had forgotten even one detail about her, or that I would forget someday."

My Thoughts

These words above that I have quoted from Ann Hood's book or her website...I have felt them all too ever since my baby died.
I must give proper thanks to Steve Colca of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc....who offered to send me this book after I added him on Twitter. He very sweetly asked me first if this would be a welcome gesture and after I assured him that it was he sent me this book and The Knitting Circle.
Most of my blogging buddies on here know that I myself have been on a grief journey. My son Nicholas (15) died just over 2 years ago on October 30th, 2006. Ever since that heart has stopped beating. Ann's book took me down that road again...she took me back to the anguish and fear and shock that I felt that day. Her book broke my heart again but it also felt cathartic to cry as I relived my own last moments with Nick.
She manages to describe almost exactly the way that I felt about losing my Nicky when she speaks about losing her Grace.
She describes in minute detail all the platitudes that people say to you as a newly bereaved mother. "She/he has gone to a better place." (Are you kidding me?)
"God must have wanted them" (Not as much as I did!)
"I understand what you must be feeling." (Unless you have lost a child you don't!) and she also speaks about the weirdness that people feel around you. I myself have experienced people ducking behind stores, displays and bushes just to avoid speaking with me. Do they really think that we don't notice?
I have also felt people's impatience with me when I can't get out of bed sometimes to go into work because I am having a really bad day about missing him and I don't want to go on anymore. They are also impatient with me because they are tired of 'being reminded of my tragedy!" I work with a woman like that.
I am never sure how to deal with people like that but as my husband reminds me...that is their problem not mine. I have enough on my plate already.
Thank you Ann Hood for writing this book about your loss. I know that you wrote it just for me...didn't you? It feels like it anyway!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Your Blog is Fabulous! from Sheri @ A Novel Menagerie

Ok....I admit it...I am absolutely and completely chuffed with this award!
Sheri from A Novel Menagerie has welcomed me so completely into this blog world, that we all circle around, and her blog is the first one that I read everyday!

Thank you Sheri! Kisses and hugs........

I think what I failed to mention though is why I love Sheri's blog....
She is sooooo real!

the details of this award are simple just write 5 things that you are addicted to and name 5 other blogs to pass it on to.


* I am addicted to getting books through the mail! ( I love getting my 'fix' everyday when the UPS or Canada Post guy comes!)

* I am addicted to Pandora beads and bracelets ( I have been collecting for only a couple of years but I love receiving beads to celebrate or mark an important event.)

* I am addicted to receiving comments on my blog posts! (Who isn't?)

* I am addicted to watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my daughter everyday. (My son Nicky and I used to watch this show when it was being broadcast and we loved it...this is another way to share something about Nicky with my daughter.)

* I am addicted to chocolate! (It doesn't even have to be good chocolate!...I am ashamed to admit.)

Ok...To Pass this along............

1. Confuzzled Books by Shannon ---Your blog is so charming with your hand drawn images.

2. My Tragic Right Hip by Deanna-----I first met Deanna through the Reading Club but I have remained a follower because her blog is always so well written and she blogs about herself. I love to "meet" the person behind the blog.

3. Poisoned Rationality by Lexie----I LOVE the name of this blog!

4. Musings of a Bookish Kitty by Wendy----Hmmmm....could be the name....the picture of the cat....or the content???? But I like it.

5. Bookaholics Anonymous by Jenn----This blog is new to me and looks very intriguing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nick's 18th Birthday

My baby was born at 01:36 am January 28th, 1991.

The happiest day of my life and I fell in love immediately, completely forever.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What's on Your Nightstand

What's On Your Nightstand? is hosted by Jennifer at
5 Minutes for Books.

The Brutal Heart by Gail Bowen
Drood by Dan Simmons
The Widows of Eastwick by John Updike
Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
Etta by Gerald Kolpan
Arctic Drift by Clive Cussler
Compulsion by Jennifer Chase
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
The Glister by John Burnside
Joker One by Donovan Campbell
Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely
The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
The Survivors Club by Ben Sherwood
The Terror by Dan Simmons
Comfort -A Journey Through Grief by Ann Hood
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
I, Robot by Howard S. Smith
Now the Drum of War by Robert Roper I feel intimidated...........


Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda

Product Description
Jessica Luna is your typical 26 year old: she has man trouble, mom trouble, and not a clue what to do with her life (though everyone else in her family seems to have plenty of suggestions!) After a lifetime of being babied by her family, Jess is incapable of trusting herself to make the right choices. So instead, she bases all of her life decisions on signs. She looks to everything for guidance, from the direction her rearview-mirror-Virgin-de-Guadalupe sways to whatever Madame Hortensia, her psychic, sees in the cards.

My Thoughts

I whipped through this book in less than a day. Of course it helps that I am home sick in bed with the flu. Thanks Madeleine!
This was such an enjoyable read. I really liked Jessica for many reasons-she was funny, endearing, vulnerable and completely clueless about her future. Jessica stumbled through her life...falling into jobs, boyfriends and falling in and out of favour with her family. She keeps going to see this local psychic who takes her $20/visit and scams her. Is she for real or isn't she?
Jessica seems to want somebody else to decide for her about her career and her love life while she hangs around waiting for........?
Gwendolyn Zepeda has a hit on her hands with this, her debut novel. There were many chuckles and giggles as I read this but also some sighs of recognition as Jessica seemed to embody many of the character traits in my own personality... the part that I will never admit to! Why is it that we all seem to need confirmation about ourselves? Why do we ask another person to tell us what we SHOULD do with our lives??? Is there a possibility that we are sometimes looking for a "fall guy"?
An easy read but very enjoyable.
Thank you Miriam and Hachette Books.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Choosing to Be by Kat Tansey

Product Description
Choosing to Be centers around a Buddha-wise Maine Coon cat named Poohbear Degoonacoon, his kitten muse Catzenbear, and author Kat Tansey as they take us on a journey from the depths of depression to the true freedom of Buddha mind. Tansey has written a magical fable filled with practical information and instruction on Buddhist meditation and how to conquer its five hindrances -- clinging, anger, restlessness, sleepiness, and doubt. This book is a must read for anyone seeking respite from their ordinary mind.

My Thoughts

This was a delightful read. Kat Tansey takes us on a magical journey with her zen master cat Poohbear Decoonacoon. Poohbear and his young cohort Catzenbear are Maine Coon cats.
Written as an anthropomorphic dialogue between the author Kat Tansey and her superior being, Poohbear the Maine Coon cat, the issues and dictates of Buddhism are explored, discussed and practised. Kat was recovering from a long bout of chronic fatigue syndrome and was bogged down in depression...but learning to meditate successfully has helped her come out of her depression and recover her life.
Each chapter starts with a zen quotation and a picture of one of the cats depicting the individual philosophy. You can just feel the wisdom emanating from them.
I absolutely believe that all felines have this innate link to zen fulfillment and they practise mediation everyday. We could learn many lessons from just being around them...I have 4 cats and they bring me so much.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Ralphina, the Roly-Poly (Hardcover) by Claudia Chandler

Product Description
A book that is so charming and so beautifully illustrated that it is a pleasure for every reader. Preschoolers and early readers will especially enjoy discovering the hidden world of a tiny insect. Ralphina is a young roly-poly, living in the garden of a family with a little boy. Ralphina asks her mother how she can get the little boy to be her friend. Once they meet, Ralphina tells Alec all about roly-polies. The book is both fun and educational.

About the Author
Claudia Chandler holds a master's degree in elementary education, is an artist of oil paintings, a photographer of nature and is a passionate gardener of thousands of flowers in her Olathe, Kansas home. It is this combination of creative endeavors, along with her experience and passion of educating children, that has brought her to this most exciting and rewarding career - writing and illustrating books for children.

My Thoughts

What a beautiful exuberantly illustrated storybook. The story is fine but a trifle insipid and it certainly pales in comparison to the lovely paintings of the characters and the garden.
Bugs have never been my thing but certainly as a child I used to love to find one of these and gently touch it so that it would roll up. I thought that it was the coolest bug because it rolled up. I love beautiful picture books and this book`s saving grace is the charming illustrations which is what we parents buy the books for.

Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz written by vintage griffin

Saw this over at Enroute to Life and thought it looked like fun.

Take the Quiz here:

Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz

I am an Ingrid

I am an Ingrid!


You are an Ingrid -- "I am unique"

Ingrids have sensitive feelings and are warm and perceptive.

How to Get Along with Me
  • * Give me plenty of compliments. They mean a lot to me.
  • * Be a supportive friend or partner. Help me to learn to love and value myself.
  • * Respect me for my special gifts of intuition and vision.
  • * Though I don't always want to be cheered up when I'm feeling melancholy, I sometimes like to have someone lighten me up a little.
  • * Don't tell me I'm too sensitive or that I'm overreacting!

What I Like About Being an Ingrid
  • * my ability to find meaning in life and to experience feeling at a deep level
  • * my ability to establish warm connections with people
  • * admiring what is noble, truthful, and beautiful in life
  • * my creativity, intuition, and sense of humor
  • * being unique and being seen as unique by others
  • * having aesthetic sensibilities
  • * being able to easily pick up the feelings of people around me

What's Hard About Being an Ingrid
  • * experiencing dark moods of emptiness and despair
  • * feelings of self-hatred and shame; believing I don't deserve to be loved
  • * feeling guilty when I disappoint people
  • * feeling hurt or attacked when someone misundertands me
  • * expecting too much from myself and life
  • * fearing being abandoned
  • * obsessing over resentments
  • * longing for what I don't have

Ingrids as Children Often
  • * have active imaginations: play creatively alone or organize playmates in original games
  • * are very sensitive
  • * feel that they don't fit in
  • * believe they are missing something that other people have
  • * attach themselves to idealized teachers, heroes, artists, etc.
  • * become antiauthoritarian or rebellious when criticized or not understood
  • * feel lonely or abandoned (perhaps as a result of a death or their parents' divorce)

Ingrids as Parents
  • * help their children become who they really are
  • * support their children's creativity and originality
  • * are good at helping their children get in touch with their feelings
  • * are sometimes overly critical or overly protective
  • * are usually very good with children if not too self-absorbed

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Snapshot Saturday

Idea borrowed from the blog Write for a Reader.
My two favourite people on a recent summer vacation to PEI. My husband Paul and my daughter Madeleine.
The loves of my life! They keep me grounded and provide endless hours of amusement!
They were flying a kite and communing with each other.

Forgive the camera phone pic.

The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns

"The Saga of Beowulf" is the first complete and accurate novelization of the epic 10th century Old English poem "Beowulf," chronicling the rise of the emerging Nordic nations, the tragic feuding of their clans, epic battles with mythological creatures, and the final, futile struggle of one man against the will of Fate that made of him a Legend.

"Breathtaking in scope and relentless in pace," the story follows the Nordic hero Beowulf as he embarks upon a fateful quest for vengeance against the creature that slew his father, setting in motion a sequence of events that will bring about the downfall of a nation, all the while fleeing from the woman he has sworn to love. Based on extensive historical research and steeped in Norse mythology and lore, the saga unfolds across the frozen fields of Sweden and the fetid fens of Denmark, ranging from the rocky heights of Geatland to the sprawling battlefields of ancient France.

My Thoughts

What an incredible epic story. I received this book sometime in November and it rested in my TBR pile throughout the Christmas break. I have spoken of my difficulty in reading and reviewing over the break due to my state of mind and frankly this book is a tome...not exactly conducive to light reading. A daunting 600 page novelization of the story of the Norse hero Beowulf. It is absolutely accurate to the old English poem written in the tenth century and R. Scot Johns has completely adapted this tale from the old English to a modern retelling as a piece of fiction.
I have really enjoyed it but it took forever to read. The size of the font is small and my eyes are getting quite bad so I could only concentrate on the pages for about 50 at a time. This is NOT the way that I prefer to read. I love to completely submerge myself in a story and inhale it as if enjoying the most delicious spaghetti supper. This is not a book for the fainthearted either...once you begin the story it is hard to put down. Beowulf becomes this flesh and blood man who seeks out challenges that will befit his role as a hero for his people the Geats and ensure his place in Valhalla for all eternity.
R. Scot Johns writes with great detail and describes the settings and characters as if it he was setting the stage for a movie. He originally visualized and wrote the tale as a screenplay but rethought his decision to tell the story as a novel when two other movie screenplays were sold for production at the same time. I would liked to have read the screenplay. I loved the story and it is an easy read but it is too darn long. Sometimes there is just too much story to contain it within one volume so it might be more appealing if it was divided logically into a multi volume tale.
This is a 'massively' good read!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Lost City Of Z by David Grann


A grand mystery reaching back centuries. A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.

My Thoughts

This is not a fictionalized account of Percy Fawcett's adventures in the Amazon basin. This strives to recount quite accurately the information that Fawcett recorded about his explorations. It is mixed with the stories of a couple of other explorers that also attempted to find the lost city of El Dorado...and David Grann who tried to follow the footsteps exactly that Percy had travelled while searching for his mythical city of Z. It is unsure about why he even called it Z but he seems to have become obsessed with the idea of it and it had assumed an almost nirvana-like mysticism in his dreams.

This was a time in history when technology hadn't caught up with the dreams and needs of the adventurers in the jungle and when people went exploring they often disappeared for months and sometimes years...with no way of contacting those in the civilized world. Some never returned to their loved ones and the assumption was that they had perished in the 'green hell' that had taken over their lives. Hostile natives, disease or being the prey of carnivorous hunters was most probably the fate of all who disappeared but these mysteries just seemed to fuel the enthusiasm for hundreds of men and they all hoped to be the one to crack the mystery of The Lost City Of Z.

I was intrigued in spite of myself ( I have always enjoyed a good adventure story) and quickly read through this book although it was a little dry and I needed to read it over several nights. It required thinking about as I was reading unlike a piece of fiction. The account also felt disjointed through parts of the book and I grew to wish that David Grann had just written about Fawcett and not muddied the waters by introducing some other explorers. After all, David Grann was interested in following Mr. Fawcett's one else's.

I did enjoy the story and was thrilled to read the last chapter. It brought the quest for the lost city of Z to a satisfactory conclusion. This book has been sold and is presently in production for a 2010 release starring Brad Pitt as Colonel Percy Fawcett.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Sing! Sing a Song… January 15, 2009

But, enough about books … Other things have words, too, right? Like … songs!

If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

  • What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
  • Why?
  • And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?

You don’t have to restrict yourself to modern songsters, either … anyone who wants to pick Gilbert & Sullivan, for example, is just fine with me. Lerner & Loewe? Steven Sondheim? Barenaked Ladies? Fountains of Wayne? The Beatles? Anyone at all…



Rainy Days and Mondays by Paul Williams

(Ever since I was a kid I have loved this ......I totally related to it as I suffered with depression)

Talkin' to myself and feelin' old
Sometimes I'd like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hangin' around
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.

What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.

American Pie
by Don McLean (the imagery is incredible)

Now for ten years we've been on our own
And moss grows fat on a rollin' stone,
But that's not how it used to be.
When the jester sang for the king and queen,
In a coat he borrowed from james dean
And a voice that came from you and me,

Oh, and while the king was looking down,
The jester stole his thorny crown.
The courtroom was adjourned;
No verdict was returned.
And while lennon read a book of marx,
The quartet practiced in the park,
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died.

We were singing,
"bye-bye, miss american pie."
Drove my chevy to the levee,
But the levee was dry.
Them good old boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye
And singin', "this'll be the day that I die.
"this'll be the day that I die."

Helter skelter in a summer swelter.
The birds flew off with a fallout shelter,
Eight miles high and falling fast.
It landed foul on the grass.
The players tried for a forward pass,
With the jester on the sidelines in a cast.

Oh, and there we were all in one place,
A generation lost in space
With no time left to start again.
So come on: jack be nimble, jack be quick!
Jack flash sat on a candlestick
Cause fire is the devil's only friend.

Oh, and as I watched him on the stage
My hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in hell
Could break that satan's spell.
And as the flames climbed high into the night
To light the sacrificial rite,
I saw satan laughing with delight
The day the music died

And in the streets: the children screamed,
The lovers cried, and the poets dreamed.
But not a word was spoken;
The church bells all were broken.
And the three men I admire most:
The father, son, and the holy ghost,
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

One Tin Soldier by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter ( I used to sing this for my children before they went to sleep)

Listen children to a story that was written long ago
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain, and the valley folk below
On the mountain was a treasure buried deep beneath a stone
And the valley people swore they'd have it for their very own.

    Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend
    Do it in the name of heaven, justify it in the end
    There won't be any trumpets blowing, come the judgment day
    On the bloody morning after - one tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure, tons of gold for which they'd kill
Came an answer from the kingdom: "With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain, all the riches buried there.


Now the valley cried with anger, mount your horses, draw your sword!
And they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward
Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it -
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.


Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

Ok....I realise that I am going to unload again so folks ....prepare.
Tomorrow I get the fun job of heading 2 hours away into Toronto (rush hour) for an 8:45am appointment at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at Toronto General Hospital. I am scheduled for my semi annual cardio tests and consultation.
I guess that I never explained baby Nick didn't just look like me...he inherited a lot of my genetic makeup which includes a genetic heart defect called Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. HCM in other words. This is what killed him and I gave it to him.
Apparently we got it from my mom and she gave it to my brother and his son as well.
Nick is the only one in our family to die from it. We had no idea about this ticking time bomb until his first symptom...his sudden death.
My son Nick was climbing the stairs from his first period class in the basement to the third floor for his grade 10 English class. He walked into the room said hello to a bunch of friends and fell over unconscious. He quickly stopped breathing and although they immediately initiated CPR and this continued through the arrival of paramedics and the transport to the hospital...he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The worst day of my life...and I gave it to him.

Now....I know that it wasn't my fault as in blame but the inner part of me does feel at fault and having to go and get my heart checked again (to see if the hypertrophy has increased) just brings it all to the forefront of my mind. (as if it ever leaves.)

I get to have an echo cardiogram. an ECG and the results from that delightful MRI.
Oh and guess what....I also get told to lose weight! Hold me back...I just can't wait!!!

Funnily enough...whining about it today has made me feel better.

What kind of fun things are in your future????

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AWESOME!!!! Meme

Borrowed from Sharon...this is HYSTERICAL!!!!

Type your name into Google with the verb that comes after in the question. Answer with your favorites from the first page of google results. Have fun!

Q: Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search.
A: Tamara needs to consult with a fashion advisor.

Q: Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search.
A: Tamara looks like such a sweetheart and a cool person to chill with.

Q: Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.
A: Tamara says her and Christian are well matched.

Q: Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search.
A: Tamara wants you dead.

Q: Type in "[your name] does" in Google search.
A: Tamara Does Firefighter Fran.

Q: Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search.
A: SYNOPSIS Tamara hates her life.

Q: Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.
A: Tamara asks him to renounce the use of power for evil.

Q: Type in "[your name] likes " in Google search.
A: Tamara Likes It Rough.

Q: Type in "[your name] eats " in Google search.
A: Tamara Eats The Camera.

Q: Type in "[your name] wears " in Google search.
A: Tamara wears huge pads.

Q: Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.
A: Tamara was arrested for "failure to disperse" on a public sidewalk as she was attempting to walk to her car to leave.

Q: Type in "[your name] loves" in Google Search.
A. Tamara loves the finer things in life: good food, great times, and regular vacations.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Crown Conspiracy by Michael J. Sullivan


Whether you are looking for a single novel, or a multi-book saga, The Crown Conspiracy is the place to begin. It is a heroic fantasy adventure written for a general audience and conceived as a single epic tale. This series is told through six self-contained episodes, each complete in its own right. Across the entire chronicle, mysteries build, characters deepen, and plots thicken, but none of the books end in a disappointing cliffhanger or require you to read a previous book to fully enjoy the one you are on.

My Thoughts

The Crown Conspiracy begins an epic fantasy that consists of 6 books called The Riyia Revelations.
Each of these books may be read on it's own without reading the rest of the books but they all fit together well in the telling of the tale of Elan.
The characters of Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater are skilled skilled in fact that they are notorious for it and their fees reflect this exclusivity. Nobles and commoners alike come to this pair to retrieve stuff stolen from them or assignments that are sensitive in nature until they are framed for the murder of the king. They are the only persons to be found near his dead a locked chapel.
Amid the ensuing furor they meet and help Prince Alric and Princess Arista seek the real murdering traitor and expose the treachery from within the court. They need to spirit away Prince Alric before he can also be murdered and they need to take him as far away as possible to keep him safe even if he resists.
Along the way they meet up and help a monk who was saved from execution and left behind after his abbey was burned to the ground. A kind and gentle new friend. They also seek and find a wizard magically imprisoned for the last 900 years...a secret so volatile that to know of him is to sign your own death warrant. They gather up their trusty band of cutthroats and prepare to race to the rescue of the princess and place the rightful king back upon the throne.

There is so many layers to this story that to explain it in a few words is nigh impossible. The characters are well fleshed out and the descriptions about the countryside and customs fueled my imagination and I felt that I could hardly wait to read more of this adventure. The world created by Michael J. Sullivan is intriguing and he has subtly interwoven new possibilities that may be coming in future installments of this epic tale. I am hoping that the future books will include more of the characters met along the way and I have already guessed at one of the mysteries. I can`t wait to see if I was right.
Waiting eagerly for the next chapter of this saga.
Great read!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jolted by Arthur Slade

Newton Starker's Rules for Survival

  1. Check the weather constantly.
  2. Check the sky before exiting a building.
  3. When thunder roars, run indoors.
  4. Beware of cumulo-nimbus clouds.
  5. Do not take a bath during a lightning storm.
  6. Do not under any circumstances become angry. Count to ten. Breathe in. Breath out.

For over two hundred years, everyone in the Starker family has died after being hit by lightning, leaving only two-- Great-Grandmother Enid, whose secret to a long life is to grumble about everything, and fourteen-year-old Newton. Determined to break the curse, he enrols in the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, where students must navigate the outdoors, the very place Newton's mother warned him about.

Newton knows that information is power, and so he steadfastly follows his rules for survival. He obsessively checks weather reports before venturing anywhere. He never takes a bath or answers the phone during a lightning storm. But life slowly amps up, and before Newton knows it, he is weathering storms he can't control, including battling Violet Quon, who is equally resolved to get her picture up in the Hall of Heroes, and preparing for First Year Expedition, which is his chance to prove he's the ultimate survivor.

My Thoughts

What a fun book to read. I wasn't sure of what to think when I requested this book from the reading club but I always enjoy a good YA book and this was no exception.

The premise of Newton being the last surviving member of the Starker family to escape being struck by lightning is funny in it`s ghoulishness. That is such an incredibly remote concept...a whole family that somehow acts as a lightning rod and 'beckons' lightning to flow through them and killing them.

We have all been warned by our families about what to do in the event of a thunderstorm so most of these warnings are familiar but I am sure the majority of us could never envisage this strange occurrence happening to us. Check Spelling


I thought that Newton was such an interesting kid. He was so practical about his inevitable fate and he barely allowed his emotional self the room to feel sorrow and grief for the loss of his mother and his lack of friends or bemoan the increased distance between he and his father.

The time that he spends at the Jerry Pott's Academy is so eye-opening for him. he learns so much about his social self...the hidden part who actually yearned for a connection with someone.

He even forms a relationship with his Great-Grandmother Enid and creeps past her defences.

I am eager to read more of Arthur Slade's books.... he has a delightfully twisted imagination that appeals to YA and grownups alike.